It’s the first of the year and like many others, I’ve got plenty of “It’s A Brand New Year and It’s Going To Be AWESOME!” sentiments floating about, which are prompting me to write up this list of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve got a general idea of how I’d like this year to turn out. It’s not going to be easy, by any means. We’ve got a baby on the way, due in just a few more weeks, and I know that’s going to change our lives more than anything else. I’m not going to punish myself by creating too many specific resolutions that’ll be impossible to keep up with, especially once I’m more sleep deprived and physically exhausted than ever before. Instead, I’m just going to outline some general goals for myself and work toward making them reality as frequently and as successfully as possible.
Write a Little Bit Every Single Day.
I’ve got a few tools under my belt to keep me on task for this:
One is the new journal I picked up from the Dollar Store recently that I’m keeping next to my bed. When I was younger, I had a tendency to journal my life daily, but I’ve since given up, thinking maybe it’s too self-indulgent. But really, it’s no more self-indulgent than writing a blog or being on social media, so fuck it. I’m keeping it near my bed (or in my purse when I go out) to jot down a few things each day.
The second is the MicroJournal app on my phone. It only allows for 100 characters, so it’s even shorter than a Tweet, but unlike Twitter, I don’t have to think about who might look at this. It’s proving useful so far, and when I do write something I think may be worth sharing, it has a share option anyway.
The third is the #WriteChain Challenge on Twitter. You set a goal for how much constitutes a “link” in your writing chain (say anything from 100 words to 10,000 words a day) and you post your results each day you complete a new link. If you miss a day, you have to start over, but that’s okay! Sometimes it happens, and you just pick yourself up and keep writing. I’m starting a new chain myself today and hope I can make it through the month without missing a link.
I’ve been getting better at this, and I’ve been working on my blogging calendar now to make sure I at least have certain prompts for myself when I can’t think of what to update. One feature I want to include is using the #feministfriday tag for blogging about all sorts of rad feminist stuff on Fridays. It probably won’t happen every single week, but I’d like to save this space to make sure I begin to develop my feminist voice even more, thinking more critically about feminist topics. I also want to post one piece of flash fiction a month (or so).
Finish and Publish My Novel
I started writing my novel during NaNoWriMo last year and while I proposed to finish it in December, it didn’t quite happen that way. Still, I got some headway on it and I want to try completing it this month before the baby is here. After that, I’ll probably take a short hiatus from looking at it and then re-read it with fresh eyes, edit the hell out of it, revise, maybe find one or two outside editors, and then once it’s polished like crazy, begin seeking out publishing options (either by finding publishers who are open to submissions or finding an agent). As a last restort, I’ll self-publish, but I think I’d like to try the other route first. I’ll be blogging about the process throughout the year. Oh, and also, I need to finally give my work-in-progress a title.
Send Bi-Weekly Queries/Submissions/Contest Entries
If you don’t submit your writing anywhere, you don’t get published, and you most definitely won’t get paid. I’ve recently submit two articles to XOJane.com which were both accepted. I also submit an article idea to Nerve.com which I’m pretty sure was rejected, so that’s the flip side. Doesn’t mean I can’t/won’t try again, though. I want to submit to lit journals, websites, anywhere and everywhere. I need to get my words, my writing, and my name out there and this is the best way to go about it. Guest blogging is another way to accomplish this. I’m hoping to try and send work out every other week, but again, room for flexibility here.
Become Awesome at Being a Mom
I know it’s not going to be easy, but it’s pretty damn important I kick ass as much as possible in this new role I’m taking on. Rearing tiny humans can’t be easy, and I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that soon enough. Ways I plan to kick ass? Not give up on breastfeeding unless I exhaust all my options and still am physically unable to. I’d just like to say that there’s nothing wrong with women who prefer not to go this route, but this is the route I’d like to take with my son. Also, be attentive as fuck. I’m not a fan of the “cry it out” mentality, and although I hate giving it a name, I suppose the closest thing to what my parenting “style” will be is “attachment parenting” (at least, from what I understand about it so far). My son’s getting lot and lots of love and care and instant attention as an infant because I believe that’s what’s best for him. We’re going to have him sleeping next to us in his bassinet at arm’s reach. And at some point, I’d like to shift over to cloth diapering once I’ve gotten used to having a baby and diapering in general (especially since I’ve never, ever changed a diaper in my life. I know, it’s going to be a rude ass awakening). Mostly, I’m going to forgive myself in advance for all the times I’m going to feel tired and stressed out and like I can’t do it anymore, because I know that’s going to happen. Maybe I’ll come back to read this to remind myself that I CAN do this, and that I am awesome for giving so much to this one special, little individual.
Be an Awesome Wife
I’m pretty sure I do well in this department, though you’d have to ask my husband to be certain. Relationships are awesome, but as we all know, they can also be work at times, work that you totally love, but still, work. John and I have been through hell and back in the year we’ve been married and I don’t doubt the ups and downs will continue, but so far, so good. My goal is to keep the lines of communication open between us, to keep showing him how much I care and love and support him, to surprise him now and again so things don’t get stale, to show him how much I appreciate the things he does for me. Also, I’d like to get serious about planning a small wedding for us. We didn’t really get that chance last year, and after losing Maggie, I don’t think either of us cared to think about anything like a big party for a while. But now that we’ll have our son, I think it’d be a blast to get our closest friends and relatives together for one big shindig. And a honeymoon some months to a year post-baby would probably be beyond amazing.
Be an Awesome Friend (and Relative)
I miss my friends more than I should. I know this is going to keep happening the older I get, the more settled in married life I become, and the more wrapped up I end up in motherhood. But I’d like to make sure that I don’t completely lose touch with all these people who have meant so much, who mean so much to me, regardless of how much our lives are shifting on the daily.
Ways to combat this?
- Write personal messages, e-mails, handwritten letters, and postcard: I’d like to develop direct lines of communication with those I’m closest to. Hopefully they feel the same way. I’ll even add a few phone calls in there, although I personally have a great dislike of phone conversations these days.
- Bi-weekly to Monthly Social Outings: I need to make sure I see friends and family and engage with them at a minimum of once a month. Even if it’s just attending a birthday or meeting for lunch or coffee or having someone over, anything would help.
- Seek out new friendships: I love the friends I currently have, but it doesn’t mean I couldn’t use more, especially in the way of writer friends and feminist pals. So far my only way of finding any of these has been online, which is fine. Eventually, would be nice to attend some Meetups or something where I could find more of these folks as well. I’ll also be in dire need of more mommy-friends once the baby is here, so I’ll definitely want to find some of those as well since most of my close friends don’t have kids.
Move Out of Miami
We really, really, really don’t want to raise our son here, despite having some family and friends here. Ideally, we would like to move out West (California) or North (New York). It’s going to be a real challenge with a new baby, but we’ve got our sights set on providing a better life for our kiddo and neither of us feel that it will happen here. Even if it takes all year to save up and plan for it, this is something that we both feel needs to happen. If we end up moving back to Central Florida first for a while, so be it, but mostly we would like out of the state of Florida for more reasons than I care to get into here.
Develop My Career (Read: MAKE MONEY)
This could mean one of many things:
- Find an awesome new job in writing, publishing, and/or nonprofit.
- Go back to school, get my Master’s degree (pay for it somehow), become a professor.
- Become a kick-ass writer from home.
We’ll just have to see which option takes first and best.
Personal Growth Goals
I’d love to aim for a book a month, but I’ll settle for just more reading in general. Follow me on GoodReads if you’ve got reading suggestions for me or just want to talk book-stuff. I should really spend more time there and less time on Facebook…
I’m currently teaching myself French and German (well, brushing up on French since I’ve taken several semester in the past, and learning German). Other things I’d like to learn this year: how to ride a bike (I started to last year but then got pregnant), how to cook well (I’ve lost all my veggie cooking skills these past few years), how to knit (I have some supplies for this…), how to draw better (I’ve got a sketch book that needs filling up!), how to use an SLR properly (I rely on automatic way too much), etc.
Practice Yoga and Meditate More Frequently.
I basically have to right now if I want to be prepared for the natural /no-intervention childbirth I’m hoping for, but I’d really like to find myself as a more active yogi by end of year. Nothing makes me feel better than spending time stretching, breathing, and sitting in silence, contemplating everything and nothing at once. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Get Pre-Pregnancy Healthy.
After experiencing two back-to-back pregnancies, my body has been put through the wringer. I don’t think I look or even feel all that badly right now, but I’d like to get to the point I was at before pregnancy, or even improve upon that. It’s not so much about just being “lighter”, but about eating well and having more energy. Baby comes first, of course, but I hope to start doing some jogging (maybe even enter a 5k or two) this year. Obviously the yoga will help if I’m consistent. Continue eating decently (or even better). Look good and feel good for myself.
Become a Neater, More Organized Person
Because my son deserves to not have two slobs for parents. We’re working on getting our shit together and keeping house. Advice for messy people is always welcome here, FYI.
Give Back and Be a Better Human
I haven’t been as giving or as thoughtful to the world at large in the past year or so, for x, y, and z reasons. I normally love participating in things like beach clean-ups and charity walks and donating old clothes and whatnot, so I think it’s a good a time as any to give back.
One way will be donating Baby Boy’s clothes to my local women’s shelter as he outgrows it. I’ll keep a couple I’m sure for sentimental reasons, but I know these women’s babies could use new outfits, too. I’ll also be donating most if not all my maternity clothes once I start shrinking back down in size.
JB’s always talking about feeding the homeless (and he has personally taken it upon himself to give an individual in need a meal before), but I think it’d be great if we could take part in or even organize an event for this.
I’d love to volunteer my time for progressive movements, and I’ve developed an interest in helping out in a political campaign, so I may see if I’m able to help in some way since elections will be coming up soon enough.
I also need to be less wasteful. Our laziness has really got us by a stranglehold and we’ve taken to using plastic cutlery and plates and cups more often than we should. We also waste a lot of electricity (which isn’t great for the electric bill, either). I really want to make a more conscious effort to combat these problems. Which brings me to another resolution.
Save Your Money!
We’ve been way too spend-happy, especially this past holiday. I’m creating some budgets to help us with all this. We can no longer afford to be careless with our finances, especially with a little one depending on us for, well, everything. Couponing, anyone?
This kind of includes lots of my other resolutions, like my #FeministFriday blog posts and reading more (including more feminist books) and connecting with more feminists in person and online. I’m also participating in the #365FeministSelfie photo challenge as detailed in Viva La Feminista’s blog. Just posted my first one. There are more ways I’ll be rediscovering and developing my feminism, so you’ll just have to keep reading to see how it goes.
This is today’s Feminist Selfie, by the way:
Nothing glamorous. I hope to find ways of getting creative with self-portraiture, though, so I’m pretty damn excited to be on board with this daily challenge.
Feel free to join me on any of these resolutions if they feel right to you!
Do you have any resolutions you’d like to share or advice on sticking to resolutions in general? Comment below and Happy New Year!